Huanxin Zhang

Abstracts

2 Impacts on Atmospheric Mercury from Changes in Climate, Land Use, Land Cover, and Wildfires

Authors: Aditya Kumar, Shiliang Wu, Huanxin Zhang

Abstract:

There have been increasing concerns on atmospheric mercury as a toxic and bioaccumulative pollutant in the global environment. Global change, including changes in climate change, land use, land cover and wildfires activities can all have significant impacts on atmospheric mercury. In this study, we use a global chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) to examine the potential impacts from global change on atmospheric mercury. All of these factors in the context of global change are found to have significant impacts on the long-term evolution of atmospheric mercury and can substantially alter the global source-receptor relationships for mercury. We also estimate the global Hg emissions from wildfires for present-day and the potential impacts from the 2000-2050 changes in climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions by combining statistical analysis with global data on vegetation type and coverage as well as fire activities. Present global Hg wildfire emissions are estimated to be 612 Mg year-1. Africa is the dominant source region (43.8% of global emissions), followed by Eurasia (31%) and South America (16.6%). We find significant perturbations to wildfire emissions of Hg in the context of global change, driven by the projected changes in climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions. 2000-2050 climate change could increase Hg emissions by 14% globally. Projected changes in land use by 2050 could decrease the global Hg emissions from wildfires by 13% mainly driven by a decline in African emissions due to significant agricultural land expansion. Future land cover changes could lead to significant increases in Hg emissions over some regions (+32% North America, +14% Africa, +13% Eurasia). Potential enrichment of terrestrial ecosystems in 2050 in response to changes in Hg anthropogenic emissions could increase Hg wildfire emissions both globally (+28%) and regionally. Our results indicate that the future evolution of climate, land use and land cover and Hg anthropogenic emissions are all important factors affecting Hg wildfire emissions in the coming decades.

Keywords: Climate Change, Land Use, Land Cover, wildfires

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1 Effects of Climate Change and Land Use, Land Cover Change on Atmospheric Mercury

Authors: Shiliang Wu, Huanxin Zhang

Abstract:

Mercury has been well-known for its negative effects on wildlife, public health as well as the ecosystem. Once emitted into atmosphere, mercury can be transformed into different forms or enter the ecosystem through dry deposition or wet deposition. Some fraction of the mercury will be reemitted back into the atmosphere and be subject to the same cycle. In addition, the relatively long lifetime of elemental mercury in the atmosphere enables it to be transported long distances from source regions to receptor regions. Global change such as climate change and land use/land cover change impose significant challenges for mercury pollution control besides the efforts to regulate mercury anthropogenic emissions. In this study, we use a global chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) to examine the potential impacts from changes in climate and land use/land cover on the global budget of mercury as well as its atmospheric transport, chemical transformation, and deposition. We carry out a suite of sensitivity model simulations to separate the impacts on atmospheric mercury associated with changes in climate and land use/land cover. Both climate change and land use/land cover change are found to have significant impacts on global mercury budget but through different pathways. Land use/land cover change primarily increase mercury dry deposition in northern mid-latitudes over continental regions and central Africa. Climate change enhances the mobilization of mercury from soil and ocean reservoir to the atmosphere. Also, dry deposition is enhanced over most continental areas while a change in future precipitation dominates the change in mercury wet deposition. We find that 2000-2050 climate change could increase the global atmospheric burden of mercury by 5% and mercury deposition by up to 40% in some regions. Changes in land use and land cover also increase mercury deposition over some continental regions, by up to 40%. The change in the lifetime of atmospheric mercury has important implications for long-range transport of mercury. Our case study shows that changes in climate and land use and cover could significantly affect the source-receptor relationships for mercury.

Keywords: Climate Change, Deposition, Mercury, atmospheric transport, toxic pollutant

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